Radishes are one of the quickest and easiest crops to grow, with crops possible in just a month at the peak of the growing season.
Vegetable Gardening can seem like a slow process, but by growing radishes in a pot and some quick growing lettuce leaves, you can have a harvest very early in the growing season.
If you have limited space or no garden at all, then growing radishes in a pot is the perfect solution. Even if you do have a big garden, growing radishes in containers will allow you to provide them with the best growing conditions.
In this step-by-step guide, we will show you the secret of growing radishes in a pot.
Varieties Of Radishes To Try Out
We are going to start our guide about growing radishes in a pot by talking about radish varieties we would recommend.
The good news is, all types of radish can be grown in a pot, so you have a good choice. But if you are not sure which ones to try, here are our recommendations.
First, you should know that there are two types of radishes, winter radishes and summer radishes. Summer radishes are sown in spring and summer for harvest in summer. The winter varieties are sown in summer for harvest in autumn and winter.
Growing Tip: By growing both types, you can enjoy homegrown radishes almost all year round.
French Breakfast: this is one of the most popular radish varieties and most gardeners grow it. It’s a summer cultivar that will produce beautiful red cylinder-shaped roots with a white tip. And the taste is delicious. And the best thing is, you can harvest them in 4 weeks.
Black Spanish: this winter radish produces globe-shaped black roots with white flesh, which will look great in any salad. It has a sharp taste that will elevate any dish.
Mooli: This winter cultivar comes from Japan and produces large long white roots. The radishes have a mild fresh taste. They also store very well.
Sparkler 3: This is a summer variety that produces round red radishes with a white tip. These crisp roots have a great flavour and will mature quickly.
Cherry Belle: this is another summer radish, which is one of the most reliable varieties. It produces bright cherry red round roots with crisp, white flesh and outstanding flavour.
Now that you know which varieties to try, let’s move on to the first step in our guide about growing radishes in a pot.
Sowing Radish Seeds
When you are growing radishes in a pot, you can sow the seeds directly into the final pot, rather than seed trays. This means less work as no repotting is necessary.
Whenever you decide to grow anything in containers, you need to make sure you have the right pots for the vegetables you want to grow.
Choosing The Right Container
When you choose the container or pot to grow your radishes in, make sure it has drainage holes. This is vital, because if the water can’t drain away, the roots could rot.
The next important thing to look out for is size. Growing radishes in containers means you need at least a pot that is 15cm (6in) deep for round radishes. If you want to grow long radishes, such as Mooli, you need a pot that is at least 25cm (10in).
This will give these root vegetables enough space to grow a decent crop.
Apart from these important criteria, any pot, container or even grow bag will work. Here are various options that will work for growing radishes in a pot.
Large Trough Planter: this large long planter is big enough to plant several rows of round radishes. This means you won’t need any other pot for your radishes. It has drainage holes, so your roots are safe from rotting. The durable plastic will make sure you can use this planter for many years to come.
- This massive Garden Large Trough is perfect for all purpose planting, with it's large 55cm length you can plant a wide range of Flowers, Herbs, Vegetables & Small Bushes.
- Its 27cm Wide and 24cm tall, so you can plant most vegetables out there and let the roots expand healthily
- Made from durable plastic, lightweight and strong, with sturdy walls, means that it won't crack and will it last for many planting seasons. Floor of pot is solid, but drain holes can easily be drilled at the intended places, if necessary.
Growing Bag: if you want to plant oblong radishes too, these growing bags are perfect, as they are 25cm (10in) deep. You can grow about 7 radishes of most varieties in this grow bag. And because it’s foldable, it won’t need much room in the shed when you are not using it.
- [High quality] Made of high-quality 300G non-woven fabric, heavy duty and durable, wear-resistant, highly tear-resistant, no need to worry about pots chipping or breaking, easy to clean, can be repeatedly up to 8 years
- [Root breathable] Non-woven growing bag has better drainage mechanism, to prevent root rot caused by excessive watering, and breathable, to promote healthy root growth
- [Easy to transplant] Reinforced nylon handles make these outdoor plant pots easy to move, decreased the risk of transplant shock, easy to fold and store, and can be used for indoor and outdoor cultivation
Normal plastic pots will do as well, as long as they are deep enough for the type of radishes you want to grow.
Growing Radishes In A Pot
Once you have chosen the right container, fill it with multipurpose compost. Create a seed drill about 1cm (1⁄2 in) deep and sow the seeds thinly (2.5cm/1in) apart.
Sowing can begin as early as March right up to early June. Although radish are quite cold hardy and will grow in March, they will take slightly longer to mature (around 6 weeks) than seeds sown in May.
Growing Tip: radish seeds need a germination temperature of between 13°C and 30°C.
If the temperature is right, germination will be quick with the plants usually showing after 10 days, after this it’s time to begin thinning the plants, if you have not planted them 2.5cm (1in) apart already.
Don’t throw away the radish seedlings you thin out, add them to a salad for extra flavour.
Keep sowing radish regularly, planting a few seeds every two weeks will give a constant supply of sweet radish over the spring and summer months. In mild areas, it is possible to do extra sowings in September for harvests in October and into November.
Caring For Radish Plants
There are two things that are essential to getting a good crop of radish. First is weeding. Any plants that are competing against the radish will slow down growth and may result in the radish becoming old and woody.
Secondly, is water regularly if the weather is dry, as this will keep the radish sweet, crisp and juicy. Radishes need moist soil to grow quickly, which is necessary to produce crisp, flashy and tasty roots.
This is especially important when growing radishes in a pot, because the soil will dry out quicker. So regular watering is essential to keep the soil moist.
Other than these very basic steps, radishes actually need very little looking after indeed.
Growing Tip: Being quick growing radishes are a great “catch crop”. Plant them between slow-growing crops to safe space and suppress weeds.
Harvesting Your Radishes
Now we are coming to the best part about growing radishes in a pot, harvesting them.
You can usually begin harvesting radishes after less than a month, with the main crop being ready for harvesting after about six weeks. Radishes taste best when still small, so it’s best to eat them at around the six-week stage and not allow them to become older, more spicy and woody.
To harvest, get hold of the stem as close to the root as possible and pull out. Because the roots are small, this should not be difficult.
Summer cultivars should be harvested as soon as they are ready. Winter varieties can be left in the ground until needed. But you should lift them in November to store.
By the way, don’t dispose of the young green radish leaves, as you can eat them too. You could, for example, make a delicious radish leaf soup with caraway.
Pests And Diseases That Could Affect Radishes
No guide about growing radishes in a pot would be complete without a section about pests and diseases. Because when you put time and effort in, you don’t want your plants to suffer from pests or diseases.
One common garden pest that will eat your radishes are slugs and snails. They will eat your seedlings and can destroy them.
The good news is, that growing radishes in a pot minimises the risk of slugs and snails getting to them.
However, if you notice a slime trail around or on your pot or container, it is best to protect your radish seedlings from these slimy customers.
One easy and cheap way is to cut a plastic bottle, such as a squash bottle, in half. Push in the top half over your seedlings, leaving the bottle top off. You can also put a piece of netting over the top to make absolutely sure.
Once your seedlings are strong enough, remove the bottles. More mature plants tend to be less affected. If slugs continue to be a problem, try moving the pot to a different location.
Another pest that might attack your radish leaves is the flea beetle. These small, shiny, black, brown or blue beetles will leave small holes in the radish leaves.
Because they are only about 2-3mm long, it is difficult to spot them. They will also jump away if disturbed, hence the name. So your best bet to spot them is by the holes in the leaves they leave behind.
Flea beetles can be an issue in spring, when they emerge from hibernation. The adults will then feed on the radish leaves and lay their eggs at the bottom of the plants. Their larvae will feed on the roots underground.
However, they normally don’t do any damage. Due to their short cycle, they will start to pupate in midsummer and emerge in late summer. During this time, flea beetles tend to be the biggest problem.
Strong healthy mature plants, don’t tend to suffer too much. But an attack on seedlings and young plants could result in stunted growth, or they could even die.
As with most pests, it is best to try to prevent them from getting to your plants. Here are some measures you can take:
- Keep your seedlings indoors, such as a greenhouse, polytunnel or cold frame, until they are bigger and strong enough not to suffer from an attack
- Keep weeds in your pot at bay, by weeding regularly if necessary
- Encourage natural predators of flea beetles into your garden, such as birds, frogs, parasitic wasps and ground beetles. Log piles, a pond, bee and beetle hotels and flowers such as marigolds and yarrow are all a great way to do this.
- Use companion planting to confuse the pests. By planting basil, mint or thyme, either with or in pots around your radishes, the flea beetles will be unable to find your radishes, as they will be confused by the scent of the herbs
- Don’t give them chance to overwinter in your garden, by removing any leaf litter where you want to position your pot of radishes
- Cover your pot or container with insect-proof mesh to prevent the adult beetles from reaching your crop. Do this as soon as you have sown the seeds
We recommend this insect-proof mesh:
- PROTECT: Protect your vegetables and soft fruit from a range of insect pests, birds, rabbits and the weather
- Protects vegetables against carrot fly, cabbage root fly, caterpillars, birds, rabbits, wind and hail.
- SPECIFICATIONS: Mesh size:1.35mm. Light passage = 90% and air passage = 95%. The weight is approx. 55gms/sq.m. Yarn Thickness is 0.24mm
There is really only one disease that you need to look out for and that’s brassica downy mildew. Like other plants of the brassica family, radishes are also susceptible to this disease.
It is caused by a fungus-like organism and can affect seedlings as well as mature plants.
The first signs of an infection are fuzzy white patches on the underside of the radish leaves. The disease can strike from spring to early autumn.
Seedlings will die quickly once infected. More mature plants will show yellow patches on the top of the leaves as well as the white fuzzy fungus-like growth on the underside. Affected leaves will shrivel and die.
The roots of radish plants can also be affected, as it can cause the flesh to brown.
Once a plant is infected, there is no cure. So prevention is the best way forward. Here are some measures you can take to minimise the risk of an infection:
- Plant radishes well spaced apart, to allow for good air circulation
- Radishes in pots tend to suppress weeds well, but make sure you remove any that pop up
- Water your radishes from below to keep the foliage as dry as you can, because downy mildew will thrive in warm damp conditions
- remove any infected plant parts as soon as you spot them
Now that you know the secret to growing radishes in a pot, you are ready to go and try it out. In as little as a month’s time, you will be eating crisp tasty homegrown radishes. Happy Growing!